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Russian fighter jets suspected of violating Finnish airspace

The aircraft are believed to have flown in Finnish airspace over the Gulf of Finland for about two minutes.

A Russian Su-27 fighter jet identified by the Finnish Air Force near the city of Porvoo, October 2016. Image: Puolustusvoimat

Two Russian state owned Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets are suspected to have violated Finnish airspace on Tuesday afternoon, the Ministry of Defence said in a press release.

"This is still only a suspicion, which the Border Guard is investigating in more detail," the ministry’s Director of Communications Niina Hyrsky said, adding that the Sukhoi jets flew in Finnish airspace for about two minutes and travelled about 500 metres on the Finnish side.

The suspected violation took place in the Gulf of Finland off Helsinki at about 2pm local time.

Finland’s Air Force sent Hornet fighters to identify the aircraft.

The Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets are used by the Russian Baltic Fleet at its bases in the Kaliningrad region. The planes of the Baltic Fleet often fly between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of Russia, with one route running along the Gulf of Finland.

According to Hyrsky, suspected area violations occur in Finnish airspace and sea areas between one and six times a year, with the exception of 2018, when no suspected violations were recorded.